So last week I saw a name on the Roots Music Chart that I didn’t recognize Chuck Cheesman. So I downloaded his latest album Imagining Dancers and it only took the chorus of the first song “Drummer” for me to say hey this guy writes great songs!
the measure of a man is not the money in his hand,
I believe it’s more the love in his heart,
and the courage when he’s lost,
to swallow the cost,
and go back to the start.
Chuck is originally from Chicago and now calls Falgstaff, Arizona home. Chuck was active both as a student and teacher at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. Over the last ten years, he has been both a children’s entertainer and as he calls it a” socially conscious “grown-up” songwriter”. At the Old Town School of Folk Music before moving west, Chuck taught children’s music and released in 2006 a collection of original songs called Campfire. Imagining Dancers is his second album the first Coming Home was released in 2001.
The album was produced by producer Larry Clyman (Big Shoulders, Sons of the Never Wrong, Nancy Walker) and All-star guest musicians who heped out include: John Abbey, Armand Ramirez, Tony Perrino, Rick Rourke, Mark Dvorak, and Sam Zucchini
On first listen the one song that really struck home with me was “Piece of the Machine” as someone who has recently been temporarily furloughed after 31 years at the same company because of lack of work these lyrics hit me:
….all the years you been working here that don’t really matter,
you’re just a piece of the machine,
and times are getting lean,
and you know what that means.
and while my situation is not as bad as some, I feel their pain!
Other tracks that stood out for me included “One Silver Hair” about the effect of finding one silver hair on the bed and then telling his wife about it. “Election Night” – hope this time we got it right. Then there’s “Lucky Number” and “Universe” and finally a very nice cover of Michael Smith’s “The Dutchman” made famous by another “Old Town School of Folk Music” alum Steve Goodman.
Here’s a song “Unconditional” he wrote as a promise to his children.